Developing high levels of competency in mathematics can be common hurdles for a wide range of students, including students who are perceived to lack the rational, objective and logical ways of thinking, which are traditionally associated with high outcomes in Mathematics (Palmer, 2010). Dance integration provides new approaches to numeracy that allow students to express their understanding through embodied ways of knowing and inherently provide creative thinking through the design of Dance choreography with explicit Maths outcomes. Below is an example of how you can integrate Maths and Dance in early years’ education:
Place six markers, numbered from 1 to 6, evenly around the performance space.
Students’ will roll a six sided dice, three times, and record each number in the order they occurred.
Students will (i) explore locomotor movement by moving from one space to the next following the number sequence of their dice rolls (ii) hold a still (a held body shape) for 8 counts*, on the markers that represent these numbers.
Warm Up: Play a lively piece of music and have students move around the room (locomotor movement) when the music is playing, and when stopped, hold a still until the music resumes.
- Throughout these activities, students can continually predict ‘possible’ and ‘impossible’ and use the language of chance indicated in the outcome**.
- Teacher rolls dice and moves to the marker that displays the same number as the dice in the performance space. Use one of the locomotor movements experienced in the warm up. Students’ copy teacher. Teacher explains that the first marker is like first base, and is where we will perform a still for 8 counts. Students’ copy teacher performing one of their own stills from the warm up, while counting out loud to 8 with the teacher*.
- Teacher rolls the dice two more times and repeats previous step each time. Make sure to change the locomotor movement and still for each location (second and third base).
- Teacher rolls dice three times and records the numbers in the sequence they were thrown. Repeat steps one and two again following the number sequence of the dice rolls. Ask students to improvise their own locomotor movements and stills this time. Teacher supports students’ counting out loud at each of the three bases when holding their stills.
- Divide the class into two even groups. Allow students to take turns as performer and audience by facilitating half the class to perform their Chance Dance, while the other watches. Switch roles.
* Preschool/Foundation (number and place value): Connect number names, numerals and quantities, including zero, initially up to 10 and then beyond
** Year 1 (chance): Identify outcomes of familiar events involving chance and describe them using everyday language such as ‘will happen’, ‘won’t happen’ or ‘might happen’ (justifying that some events are certain or impossible)
Palmer, A. (2010). ‘Let’s Dance!’ Theorising Alternative Mathematical Practices in Early Childhood Teacher Education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 11(2).